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In just weeks, the newest installment of Dancing With the Stars will premiere on ABC. The series’ 32nd season promises even more ballroom excitement and significant changes than ever before. Series host Alfonso Ribeiro will usher in the fun alongside co-host Julianne Hough, whose Emmy-winning brother Derek Hough will take over the late Len Goodman’s role as head judge. Here’s what he had to say about this significant change on the judging panel.

Alfonso Ribeiro believes Derek Hough may experience ‘growing pains’ in his new role

During 31 seasons of Dancing With the Stars, Len Goodman held firm as the series’ head judge. He weighed in with expert critiques of the pros and celebrities alongside fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.

Just five months after season 31 wrapped, Goodman died at 78. He retired from the series to spend more time with his family.

As Hough assumes his new role, Ribeiro believes he may experience a few “growing pains” as he takes on more responsibility for the series than ever before. “He’s going to be really great at it,” the DWTS host said to Entertainment Tonight. He added that he may “have to go through some growing pains.”

Hough brings a lifetime of dance experience to his new role. He has been a ballroom pro since childhood and has won six mirrorball trophies in the series, making him the most awarded male dancer in DWTS history.

Alfonso Ribeiro reveals how ‘Dancing with the Stars’ will pay tribute to Len Goodman

Len Goodman was the head judge on 'Dancing With the Stars' for 31 seasons.
Len Goodman was the head judge on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ for 31 seasons | Christopher Willard via Getty Images

Dancing With the Stars will likely pay tribute to the man who coined “From Len, a 10” when he handed out a top score. However, Alfonso Ribeiro couldn’t yet confirm what the series had planned.

Ribeiro revealed, “several of our pros plan on still honoring [him]” through their routines. “There will be moments where everybody’s going to do it for Len either way.”

The new Dancing With the Stars host continued, “I still haven’t fully wrapped my head around the idea” that Goodman would no longer return to his seat on the panel. He said it is still “incredibly sad.”

“It’s incredibly sad to see him gone, not just gone but gone from the show, and it’s going to be tough,” Ribeiro admitted. “He had an incredible role on the show with the audience, and his power and presence made the judging panel really solid.”

He is ‘excited’ about partnering with Julianne Hough as his new co-host


‘Dancing with the Stars’: When Will The Celebrities and Pros Be Revealed for Season 32?

Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough are longtime friends. Hough judged Ribeiro when he competed during Season 19 of Dancing With the Stars, winning a mirrorball with pro-Witney Carson.

Ribeiro admits he is “excited” about partnering with Hough as his co-host. He believes their shared “energy” will bring something unique to the ballroom

“We’ve known each other through the years. Our energy just feels so right,” Ribeiro said of working with Hough.

“We sat and had lunch, and two-and-a-half hours later, we’re going, ‘I guess we should go home and do stuff.’ And I think that that kind of chemistry and friendship will come through on the show to the audience,” he concluded.

The new season of Dancing With the Stars will simulcast on ABC and Disney+. The premiere date for the new season has yet to be announced.